For years the whipping-boy of reactionaries everywhere, video games have, pretty much, gone mainstream in an industry that is now bigger than Hollywood and makes billions of dollars a year but you will still hear people trot out the same reasons for why video games are no good for you. Well we are here to put protest to that notion with some interesting information about how playing your favorite game could actually help improve your life because video games are more than just collecting coins or defending your planet from space invaders, they can be vital learning and relaxation tools.
1. They Can Aid Learning & Inspire Career Moves
Many an avid gamer has moved into the gaming industry itself, with players going on to become developers or designers by having the first-hand knowledge of what gamers want and going on to successfully create something they would like to play. These can become lucrative and rewarding career choices but video games are also used in other sectors. For example, the popular building game Minecraft is regularly used to train architects and flesh out ideas or designs as well as increase collaboration. Schools and other educational facilities have also started to pick up on the teaching capabilities of video games as they show the value of perseverance and problem solving whilst also bringing a level of entertainment to education.
2. They Can Reduce Levels Of Crime
Whenever a super-violent video game is released, certain quarters of the population cry foul and claim that this sort of exposure to interactive, violent imagery increases levels of crime and this has been the line for many a year. However, the University of Texas did a study that found that every 10% increase in sales of a violent video game corresponds to a 1% decrease in crime in that area and this has been backed up by other studies as well.
3. They Decrease Violent Behaviour
It's not just crime in general but violent crime that gets brought up when video games show graphic instances of violence but there is evidence to suggest that the opposite actually happens with a study from the Villanova University showing that homicides drop off with the release of violent video games, as well as the fact that there is such a high level of exposure to violent video games and yet mass crime waves are simply not the case.
4. They Can Alleviate Stress
Video games can actually help provide you with better coping skills in the real world as they introduce you to stressful situations in a game that can then make you less hostile when confronted by outside stresses. Texas A&M International University found that those who play violent video games are particularly adept at handling bouts of long-term stress over than their non-game playing peers. As such, video games can be a vital tool for boosting mood management outside of just their escapist elements.
5. They Can Help With Socializing
Those who grew up with video games in an earlier era may remember your mom shouting at you that you should go out and socialize but these days, with online gaming and constant connectivity, you can play with friends and talk to new people all the time. This is particularly helpful with those who have issues with socializing as they can do it from within a comfortable setting but it also helps those with certain medical conditions, such as autism, to break through those social barriers. Pokemon Go was a particularly good example of this as the game forced gamers outside to catch Pokemon in real world settings. Gamers would then help each other out and point out where Pokemon were in a manner that created social interaction for the overall goals of the game.
6. They Can Help With Exercising
This may, initially, sound a little counter-intuitive with most viewing video gaming as a sedentary past-time but with the strides made in recent technology, this may no longer be the case. With mobile games and movement based controls, gaming is becoming more and more active. Take this into account and then factor in that they incentivize activity by making it fun and more and more people turn to video games for their workouts. Wii Sports was the first to really hone in on this idea by creating mini games that get you moving and then also monitor your weight and exercise goals. Pokemon Go also seized on this when it gave people rewards for walking and putting Pokemon in the outside world. Wii Active and dance games all contribute to the movement video games genre and, should this trend continue, more and more people could be combining their gaming and exercising.
7. They Can Make You Smarter
Far from making you a lazy zombie that pop-culture seems to have suggested for the past few decades, The American Psychological Association has found that video games can actually boost many cognitive functions including memory, reasoning, spatial reasoning and perception with a suggestion that violent games are particularly good at this. This is because they often test your reasoning, reaction times and offer up puzzles and tasks to complete and overcome whilst shooter video games give the player the ability to think about objects in three dimensions and if simply playing video games makes people happy then there are the obviously emotional benefits also.
8. They Can Make You Less Anxious
It has been found that playing simplistic games can actually help with anxiety as you focus on a single task in hand and nothing too complicated. As such, mobile games like Angry Birds can be particularly useful for this and the benefits can last the rest of the day according to the American Psychological Association.